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AHTD defends I-30 design after recent floods

The rain cleared late Monday afternoon but the questions surrounding flooding on Interstate 30 continue. After two major floods in less than two years, the AR Highway & Transportation Department is focusing again on a stretch of I-30.
LITTLE ROCK, AR - The rain cleared late Monday afternoon but the questions surrounding flooding on Interstate 30 continue. After two major floods in less than two years, the AR Highway & Transportation Department is focusing again on a stretch of I-30.

With 80,000 vehicles a day, I-30 is the major thoroughfare connecting Dallas and Memphis. It's why the Arkansas Trucking Association is concerned when Interstate 30 floods.

"It doesn't flood gradually, it floods in a few minutes, that could be safety issue,” Lane Kidd says.

And it's not just the ATA noticing what's happening on the Saline/Pulaski county lines.

"We've looked at our design out there,” says Randy Ort with AHTD. “We've looked at how it was constructed. We feel like everything was done properly out there, but there is obviously something going on."

Designed only to take on water once every 50 years, I-30 near Fourche Creek at mile marker 128 flooded Christmas Eve 2009 and then again two weeks ago.

"If it indeed has flooded 2 or 3 times in the last 2 or 3 years that warrants some changes or simply raising the roadway," Kidd says. "Particularly since the public has approved a 580-million dollar new bond program for the interstate highways maybe this section of I-30 could be one section they could look at improving."

"Certainly not in the plans right now, no. Again, we feel like it was built properly out there," Ort says. "It could be simply a fact that we've had some extraordinary rainfall amounts in the last few years so that has to play a factor into it as well.”

Interstate 30 flooded November 21st shutting down all six lanes for three hours. The section of highway was widened and rebuilt in 2005 at a cost of $35 million.
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